A traveling bluesman takes on the world

When Owen Campbell’s bluesy vocals cut loose on his CD, The Pilgrim, his smoky delivery serves up images of a veteran blues guitarist and singer, with a touch of The Band’s Robbie Robertson mixed in.

Campbell defies easy categorization. He’s a slide guitarist, a songwriter, banjo player, blues singer, busker, and more. The sort of performer found in New Orleans blues joints, right?

In fact, Campbell’s roots are in Canberra, Australia, not NOLA. While he’s performed and toured internationally for more than seven years, his 2012 run on ‘Australia’s Got Talent’ helped capture the hearts of a wider audience.

But it almost didn’t happen.

“When I was on ‘Australia’s Got Talent’ two years ago, I had a bit of a run-in with the judges during the audition, and I almost missed my chance,” he says. “But it worked in my favor. They had me back for another audition, and I concentrated on my music, and not being cheeky. People in the audience – and the judges – really loved it.”

Campbell earned honors as a finalist on ‘Australia’s Got Talent,’ and audiences responded enthusiastically for his 2013 album, The Pilgrim, which debuted atop the iTunes Blues charts in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. The CD yielded three Top Ten hits on the Australian Blues Singles chart, including Wreckin’ Ball, the CD’s first track. The Pilgrim – set for a U.S. release on Reckless Grace Music in June – followed the strong debut of his 2011 recording, Sunshine Road, which also topped iTunes’ Australia charts.

A gumbo of influences

Campbell first strummed a guitar at age 9, a gift from his musician father that launched his musical journey. The 30-year-old Campbell’s strongest musical influences were blues-rock musicians from America and the U.K. – and his own household.

“My father was a big influence,” he says. “But so were Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, The Band, and the Rolling Stones. I always liked the way The Band brought variety and diversity to their sound. So my sound has bits of country, soul, Celtic, and rock. I love the variations.”

Today, Campbell brings a gumbo-like repertoire to performances on his U.S. tour of clubs and festivals. His smoldering guitar work runs from bluesy riffs to soulful finger-picking to lap steel guitar solos using a shot glass slide. His eclectic mix of rock-influenced songwriting results from years of busking – performing on the streets of cities across Australia and Europe.

Now, with a U.S. release of The Pilgrim set for mid-2014, Campbell says few things top the thrill of live performance. Whether it’s a club date with a small audience or a festival with thousands, he’ll play anywhere – and often does. His past dates include shows in Austria, Denmark, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, and the U.K.

“I still do some busking from time to time, because playing two hours a day, every day, is great practice,” says Campbell. “These days, I’ll play 100-150 dates a year, or three or four shows a week, whether it’s a club, pub, festival, or whatever. Anywhere there’s a gig, that’s where I’ll be.”

He’s now working on tracks for a next CD. He never strays far from his songwriter roots – or his personal back catalog.

“There’s nothing like songwriting,” he says. “This next album gives me a chance to grow, and to revisit a song I began writing at age 19 and shelved. Now I can come at it with a fresh set of eyes and ears, and have it mean something new.”

To check out Owen Campbell’s schedule and updates, visit:

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  1. Ashok says: | Reply

    Thank you for your voice. It is bold and speaks to people. Very much loved your bluesy style of music. I am from Nepal and I accidentally went to a hotel and saw you performing there at a bar. I wish you all the best and hope you will reach people all around the world. Greetings!

  2. Wayne says: | Reply

    Hey Owen,

    Since your 2012 audition performance on “Australia’s Got Talent” I’ve been totally captivated by your OUTSTANDING sound and style of blues. I had to have your first album “Sunshine Road” when it was first released, and even though it seemed to take forever to make it to my door in the USA from Australia, it was well worth the wait. Have made sure to get every album to follow from “The Pilgrim” to your current soon to arrive album “Breathing Bullets”.

    Your sound and style of the blues is totally unique to the blues scene in my opinion, and your slide guitar playing is AWESOME! Your the best new blues artist to come along since Stevie Ray Vaughan with a refreshing new sound all it’s own. Looking forward to catching you live during your tour in the USA.

    Wishing you the best in all your future musical endeavors, and you certainly have my support as a fellow musician/guitarist, and one of your top fans here in the USA.

  3. Vishal Agrawal says: | Reply

    Hi man ! I really impressed by your music never heard the the style like yours , shared this to everybody in my 300 FB friends all around the world….checked out each and every single busking or performance on you tube……….damn impressive……apart from music you inspired me lot for travelling and see the world……..taking life experience and all………you are good man……….I like it.

  4. TJ says: | Reply

    Hey man. You inspired me to take my blues playing more seriously and I tell ya, I’ve learned so much from just listen to you and using your music as a backtrack to learn from. You’re amazing.

  5. Brian says: | Reply

    One word – Superb. Came across your music on a YouTube AGT clip. first time I have been blown away by music since I discovered Dire Straits back in the 80s. Bought all the albums, now just need the t-shirt. Keep up the good work. Hope to see you in the UK someday

  6. Justin says: | Reply

    Hi Owen,

    Love your music. I am listening more than 45 years to Tony Joe White, now I found you, dig your style and music, awsome. I am from The Netherlands in my earlier years was a Musician Manager and Recording Studio owner, so I know a little about talent.
    I wish you all the best.



  7. Rob Mahony says: | Reply

    I first came across Owen on utube and loved his attitude from the off, watching the judges get the wrong impression was a delight, he was their to entertain the audience and not the three people sitting in front of him, so it wasn’t a attitude problem more like a perception problem.

    Two albums later and his music doesn’t collect dust in the corner of a long forgotten shelf, his albums are still played on my ipod, phone, car stereo with the roof off , his music is like Beer, and Chocolate both can do you harm but you just have to indulged yourself. Be the one of gluttony and just immerse yourself in his music

    if your ever planning on coming to the UK i want front row tickets 🙂

  8. bat says: | Reply

    pilgrim – best album I have heard in many years
    sunshine road f in great
    keep on keeping kickin it out

    next your in Sydney send me your dates

    play for therapy, cheers gkc

  9. Noor says: | Reply

    Man! your music so infectious I can’t get it out of my head! Can’t stop listening to ‘Sun Shine Road’ and ‘Remember to Breath’. Just when you thought ‘Blues’ was dying ‘OC’ came and saved it!! Great work!! Keep it comin…


  10. Adam says: | Reply

    Keep it up Owen! Your music is already legendary! Hope you can make it out to California one of these days!

  11. Alex Lively says: | Reply

    Hey Owen I’d love for you to come back tot the USA to play some shows…..maybe even North Carolina! I really like your music and I even taught myself a couple of your songs on my acoustic! A better place is definitely my fav from you!

  12. Dan Stevens says: | Reply

    Awesome music. Very cool to see you playing the various places you do. Playing on the street for everyone is awesome and very down-to-earth. Hope you never lose that sense of self. Hope sometime your up around Chicago. Would love to see you play in person.

  13. Ando says: | Reply

    Hi mate, great sounds. Loved it from when I first saw you on Youtube then on AGT when you pissed off our “judges”. Keep up the great raw sound! BTW- copenhagen on the street playing Sunshine road is awesome!

    Cheers, ANDO.

  14. Jonathan Lamson says: | Reply

    Hey Owen, Can you please come to Boston? You are one of the best new blue acts, and I would LOVE to be able to see you live. Keep doing what you’re doing.

  15. Ann says: | Reply

    Hi Owen,
    I was watching something on youtube and saw your link. LOVE YOUR MUSIC. Going through something right now & was feeling down but you’ve lifted me. Thanks. Keep going strong!

  16. Neil says: | Reply

    Hey Owen.
    I have been listening to the Cd’s which I got from you at the Springwood bush fire gig the other week. Mate I love Sunshine road but I’m in love with The Pilgrim. The class of the playing and the lyrics on both Cd’s is second to none world class, and your voice is a real gift, I think from the gods of the blues. When I hear your voice my mind heads south way down south but not to Canberra, no but instead to New Orleans down there with BB King and the like. Please keep sharing your gift.
    Cheers Neil.

    • Owen says: | Reply

      Neil thanks a million,
      Im really glad your enjoyin the tunes,that was a fun day out at Springwood!
      Im in the USA now,gearing up to tour here for the rest of the year,exciting times!
      Hope all is well back in the big blue mountains,see you when Im back for the APRIL/MAY OZ tour.

  17. John Hodges says: | Reply

    Absolutely amazing stuff. You have to come to Montreal for the International Jazz Festival in June 2014. You would blow the roof of the open air main stage. Hope to see you soon.

  18. Louise and Annabel says: | Reply

    Blown away by you and your music. Soul food. When are you coming to the UK again, Owen?
    Hope you are well.Wished We’d seen you busking in the

  19. Bohdan Babyn says: | Reply

    Hi Owen,
    I’m 53 yrs. old, I like all types of music. I know talent when I hear it – and am a huge fan. I live in Edmonton Alberta, CANADA. Any plans to break into North America for tours in the near future? I realize you likely have to get ‘big enough’ to be noticed by the music industry, producers, etc., BUT: I also think they need to take notice of you sooner than later & make it happen. I tell all my friends, neighbors about your music and give them your web address – and response is always 1000% positive! Keep up the good work, and please come to Canada some day! Promise me you won’t ever get too commercial with your music and stay true to yourself OK?
    Best Regards! Bohdan

  20. Musa says: | Reply

    Love ur music. I am originally from gambia(africa) and first time I saw u was in youtube . Av to say u are up there in d list of the greatest singers IMO. Love love . I would try my very best to get those cds of urs.

  21. Nils Flores says: | Reply

    Hi Owen,

    I love what you’re creating. It’s been many years since I actually tuned down my interest in MUSIC. But listening to your stuff is the best thing I’ve experienced for a long, long time.
    Keep it real!
    Are you performing in Malta soon by any chance?

    thank you for doin’ what you do,

  22. Sarah says: | Reply

    Hi Owen,
    Just came across your music on radionational. I love your music. I have trouble keeping track of great artists, but believe me your music is just what I need right now!
    I notice that in your current tour you will be missing Sydney town… don’t blame you one bit, but it means I cannot see you live!
    I will buy an album.



  23. Andre says: | Reply

    Awesome, truly amazing. “A Mountain Home” is such a beauty! You got yourself a fan in Brazil, bro! Cheers!

  24. Chris Bomia says: | Reply

    CHEERS From Michigan!

    It doesn’t get better than to put your music on around a campfire up North, It gets everyone in the mood and just blows people away. Remember MoTown is always welcome to all varieties of music. Please come to Detroit!

  25. Jason Santos says: | Reply

    Hi Owen,

    I watched youtube and seen the rise of your career from your auditions last year its been a hell of a journey and I am glad you career is now on rise. By the way just like you to know that you have fans here in Asia here in the philippines. keeup up your good music and good attitude and hope when i visit Australia i can watch your shows.


  26. Monique says: | Reply

    I listen to your CD nearly every day on my 2 hours of driving to and from work. I could never get bored with the variety of songs and instrumentals. My husband is now a fan and we can’t wait for your new album. Hope to see you in Qld soon. Thanks for the music.

  27. Mikhail Zenon says: | Reply

    Hey Owen,

    I was in a rush today for an appointment in the city. I heard you performing in Pitt St Mall and had to stop to listen to two songs. Bought your CD and am enjoying the hell out of it right now man. Keep the passion going. You’ve got some crazy talent and you’re exactly what our society needs right now.



  28. Maria says: | Reply

    Great album thanks Owen……I’m sure the neighbours are loving it too but I guess I should turn it down so they buy it themselves & boost your sales! Loved your intimate concert in Katoomba last night. I felt very privileged to be there. Sure hope to see you again one day. Every best wish for your future & your happiness.

  29. De Vlieghere Martin says: | Reply

    Hey Owen,

    ik heb u cd goed ontvangen in België.De muziek is prachtig en ik ben een enorme fan van slide guitar (acoustic + dobro)Kunt u mij iets laten weten als u een nieuwe album op de markt brengt. ik hoop nog veel blues liefst met slide te mogen beluisteren. prachtige muziek en teksten doe zo verder.

  30. Craig Cowell says: | Reply

    Hi Owen, your album arrived yesterday. If your ever in Manchester UK, give me a shout. There’s plenty to eat and space at my house to rest those weary bones after a hard day’s gigging. You’d be welcome any day. Keep on inspiring!

  31. jean claude thomas says: | Reply

    hello from France, i just received your CD, it’s a great job, thanks a lot.
    i wish you a long road…

  32. Pavel Zeman I. says: | Reply

    Awesome music… I hope that you will have concert in Czech republic… I would like to also buy your CD, but I don’t know how… sending it to Czech republic is more expensive than usuall… Do you have in plans to sell it also in Europe?

  33. Kim says: | Reply

    Excited to receive your CD in the mail yesterday and haven’t stopped playing it since. Your music will be a staple in my collection alongside James Taylor and Jackson Browne. You’re such an amazing singer song writer; I look forward to following your career as your popularity grows, as I have no doubt it will. It’s so refreshing to finally have someone out there that isn’t another manufactured entertainer. Just pure talent.

  34. Alan says: | Reply

    Saw your show last night at the Basement. Seriously great – loved it.

    Best of luck – hope to see you again.

    Everyone do yourself a favour if you get the opportunity to see Owen perform don’t hesitate.

    I bought the CD – fabulous.


  35. Niels says: | Reply

    I really enjoy listening to Owne’s music. His music is so original and, has so much depth and soul to it. I never get tired of listening to his CD. Great words, great music, just great sound. I am looking forward to the CD. If Owen ever gets close to the Nashville area, let us followers know we will be there to hear his tunes.

    Owens style is so very unique and please don’t change for the maasives. It great to know that someone writes and plays music because he loves doing it. Keep cranking out the great sounds and in your time between traveling put together another great CD.

    Big fan in the US….

  36. Sarrayha says: | Reply

    I bought a few of his songs and was like “oh my gooooodddd <3" and then i saw him on AGT and got so excited aha.
    Absoloutely amazing musician, exactly the music i love- thank you sooo much <3

  37. Anita says: | Reply

    Please please come to Brisbane!! I would kill to see you live. Have just purchased your album and am looking forward to receiving it and playing it on repeat. Wishing you every success!

  38. Victoria says: | Reply

    Watching you from Taiwan. So disappointed you didnt get through to the finals. You were the only reason I kept watching.

    You are amazing! Keep doing what you are doing.

  39. Ryan says: | Reply

    Hey Owen,

    I have came across your vid on youtube..i’m not originally a fan of blues..but since then, i just can’t stop listening to your songs..u have an incredible talent..keep up the good work, and wish u all the best.



  40. Martin Kerr says: | Reply

    Hey Owen,

    I’m a pro busker too and former Idol contestant with an ‘attitude problem’. Enjoyed finding you on Youtube from here in Canada. I thought your first audition was the best, including your banter with the judges, which showed you have the personality, experience and self-confidence to be your own person and a real artist, rather than a pawn in the pop-music game like certain judges we might mention.

    I laughed pretty hard when one compared you to Jim Morrison after chastising you for showing the smallest amount of rock’n’roll attitude. I wonder what Jim himself would have thought of the Got Talent franchise or Westlife…

    Keep doing your thing mate, will be following you. Would love to show you the busking scene here in Edmonton if you fancy the trip, you can make a couple grand on a good day.



    • Sha Yang says: | Reply

      Thanks for bring these beautiful music to us and the world…!!!and ALL the BEST with your life and career~~~~~

  41. Steve says: | Reply

    Hi Owen, I just purchased your new album, its some of the best blues I’ve heard in years. I first saw you on AGT and can I say your music is better than anything McFadden has ever put out, as an old DJ I’ve heard a lot of music in my time. Keep up the good work, Steve

  42. Charlene says: | Reply

    Hey Owen Been watching your progress on Australias got talent and hope you win, if not I wish you all the success. I just purchased your album and hope I get to hear you on the radio soon.

  43. Waz e James says: | Reply

    Good on you Owen, been a long ride since those bedroom recordings we did, listened to them the other day, you were just as rich back then, just taken a while for the right people to hear,
    cheers and good fortune.

    Waz e James

  44. Thomas says: | Reply

    Hi Owen I just wanted to say that i love you’re album sunshine road that I got from u at the Dickson shopping centre in the beginning of may , I also wanted to say that my 3year old son loves ur music too he always runs out to me saying that’s the man from the shops. Keep up the good music and hopefully I might see u up here in Newcastle one day playing at my local.

  45. ken Burnett says: | Reply

    Hey Owen I love to sing blues but when I saw your revisit to AGT and you let loose man I was lucky I hit record because I replayed it 8 times over and over.
    The thing I like about you as a singer is you do what I do. sing from your HEART and SOUL thats sends feelings to us who are listening and effects us big time.It was amazing to see your emotions when performing it takes you onto another planet.

    Your guitar playing is soooo gooooddd

    good luck

    ken Burnett (aka Ken Blues)

  46. says: | Reply

    Hey Owen

    I saw you the first night on AGT and pressed rewind about 20 times could not get enough. I get the tude it’s a MUST when traveling the roads of the world it’s ya self and local street smarts, feels like you get down with the people instead of skim to the best of everything like the celebs do. Loving the grunt before you start your tunes. The only criticism from the first night would be mow ya fracken lawn other wise you won’t be able to see ya much loved pets. M

  47. Paul harris says: | Reply

    Your fuckin rock Owen . I have always been captivated by true Australian blues/ folk singers from Australia . The waifs, the audreys and John butler trio are the must bands to hear when your either camping out in a sweet camp spot or at a cool little pub in a cool little town . Hearing you on agt was like listening to nirvana for the first time …… And you can’t put that in words !!!! Goodluck Owen Campbell . Paul Harris

  48. Joe Kearney says: | Reply

    great performance on your first AGT visit. Mate, I just watched you again and you’re bloody brilliant!! Glad to see your in, you’ve got my vote! Oh and come play the central coast I would love to see ya live.

  49. Ocii Johnson says: | Reply

    YOU are awesoe man… just watched you on australia’s got talent!!! you were awesome dude 🙂 shame you didn’t get on 🙁

    • cassie says: | Reply

      i agree with you owen is awesome super talented but as for agt(australia got talen) its ridculas because he deserved a spot on there the judges took it the wrong way and for there stupidity he payed the price @owen i hear your getting a second chance i wish you all the best no matter what happens your gonna be a well known household name for your talent 🙂

      • red says: | Reply

        hi owen just saw you on agt a bit like watching local under 10s coach giving david beckham some kicking tips. love your sound just bought your album have been involved with kiama jazz and blues festival would love to see you there but imagine you will be booked solid all the best

  50. Juzzy says: | Reply

    Hi Owey, hope all is going well and am loving Sunshine Road. I bought a copy off Kav when I was up in Canberra a couple of months back. Its ace. My brother Age DJs on PBS here in Melbourne and is playing tracks off it on the radio. Not much other news. Going to Harvest festival on the weekend and then to Meredith with the boys in a few weeks. Kav, Rowey, Wainers and everyone coming down. Should be a blast. Anyway, take it easy. Justin

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